How Bicol’s Congresspersons voted on the Anti-Terrorism Law

One of the highly controversial legislative measures under the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is House Bill No. 6875 or the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, a copy of Senate Bill No. 1083. The bill is being opposed because it contains questionable provisions and without solid logical footing that even the principal authors cannot defend it without resorting to ad hominem.

As of June 4, a total of 173 legislators at the House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill, with 31 members opposing and 29 abstaining. Given these alignments, do you know where your Bicolano Congressional District Representatives stand? By the very name of their position, they are your representatives in Congress, but did they really represent your opinion? Or, at the least, were you ever consulted when they formulated their decision?

The Bicol Region has 16 Congressional districts and each is manned by an able-bodies representative. Of the 16 representatives, 9 initially voted “Yes” to the Anti-Terrorism Bill, two voted “No”, and the rest are absent including one of the principal authors of the bill, Cong. L-Ray Villafuerte. Eventually, the “yes” votes declined to 8 as Cong. Joey Salceda withdrew his vote and abstained. Facebook posts also circulated stating that Congresswoman Evilina Escudero, the mother of Chiz, also withdrew her vote. But we haven’t seen the official withdrawal yet.

According to Salceda, he finds some provision vague, others violate the Constitution, and that he could not rest with the idea that a mere suspicion should be enough for a person to be detained for 14 days. He also raised his reservation on the idea that the Anti-Terrorism Task Force might be biased considering that they are the implementers yet at the same time the “judge” of the implementation. This is somehow contradictory to the principle of separation of powers which is a basic tenet in democratic governments.

Unfortunately, Salceda did not switch to “no” vote but only to “abstain” primarily because he is still hoping that it will be refined.

Other Congresspersons who voted “Yes” are: Fernando Cabredo (Albay, 3D), Joefina Tallado (Cam Norte, 1D), Marisol Panotes (Cam Norte, 2D), Marissa Andaya (Cam Norte, 1D), Hector Sanchez (Catanduanes, Lone D), Elisa Kho (Masbate, 2D), and Ma. Bernardita Ramos (Sorsogon, 2D). They did not elaborate their reasons as of posting time.

Camarines Sur’s 3rd District Congressman Gabriel Bordado Jr., and Albay’s 1st District Congressman are the only ones who both voted on the negative. They reasoned out that the bill espouses provisions contradictory to the Philippine Constitution.

The names of Congressional District Representatives, and their votes are presented below. Also, presented are their Facebook Pages/Accounts should you like to ask them why their position is such.

District RepresentativeCongressional DistrictVote on HB 6875Facebook Account
Edcel C. LagmanAlbay, 1st DistrictNo
Joey Sarte SalcedaAlbay, 2nd DistrictAbstain
Fernando T. CabredoAlbay, 3rd DistrictYes
Josefina B. TalladoCamarines Norte, 1st DistrictYes
Marisol C. PanotesCamarines Norte, 2nd DistrictYes
Marissa AndayaCamarines Sur, 1st DistrictYes
Luis Raymund “L-Ray” VillafuerteCamarines Sur, 2nd DistrictAbsent
Gabriel H. Bordado Jr.Camarines Sur, 3rd DistrictNo
Arnie B. FuentebellaCamarines Sur, 4th DistrictAbsent
Jocelyn F. FortunoCamarines Sur, 5th DistrictAbsent
Narciso R. Bravo Jr.Masbate, 1st DistrictAbsent
Elisa “Olga” T. KnoMasbate, 2nd DistrictYes
Wilton “Tonton” Tan KhoMasbate, 3rd DistrictAbsent
Evilina G. EscuderoSorsogon, 1st DistrictYes
Ma. Bernardita “Ditas” B. RamosSorsogon, 2nd DistrictYes
Hector S. SanchezCatanduanes LoneYes

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